Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka announced today that they have agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract with former KHL defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin. Terms of the contract were not disclosed as per team policy.
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) May 23, 2018
Coyotes Sign Ilya Lyubushkin
Ilya Lyubushkin has played the past five seasons in the KHL with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Over his KHL career, he has 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points while registering 258 penalty minutes in 257 games. He put up three goals and six assists for nine points in 50 games this season. Lyubushkin added 79 minutes in penalties as well.
A native of Moskva, Russia, the 24-year-old defenceman has a big frame standing at 6’2” and weighing in at 209 lbs. Lybushkin skates well and is able to move the puck up the ice effectively. While he is not the most gifted offensively, he will bring size and physicality to the Coyotes blueline.
“We are pleased to sign Ilya to a one-year contract,” said Chayka in a press release. “Ilya is a big, physical defenseman who skates well and moves the puck effectively. He will add size and toughness to our blueline.”
Where he fits into the Coyotes line up
With Luke Schenn set to become a free agent this summer, the Coyotes only have two right-handed defenseman under contract from last season. Lyubushkin will be challenging for a bottom pairing role on the right side behind Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers. The signing will bring some healthy competition to the Coyotes. It also helps solidify a rather decent defence group lead by superstar Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
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Czech Republic’s forward David Kampf (L) fights for the puck with Russia’s defemsman Ilya Lyubushkin during the Channel One Cup of the Euro Hockey Tour ice hockey match between Russia and Czech Republic in Moscow on December 16, 2016. / AFP / Alexander NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)